Fitch, John (17431798)

Fitch, John, an American inventor, born in Connecticut; led a life of adventure, at one time acting as gunsmith to the American revolutionaries and at another falling into the hands of Indians whilst trading in the West; in 1785 he brought out a model steamboat with side wheels, and in 1788 and in 1790 constructed larger vessels, one of the latter being for some time employed as a passenger boat; some of his plans are said to have fallen into Robert Fulton's hands and given him the idea of his steamship; disheartened by the ill-success of a trip to France he committed suicide at Bardstown, Kentucky (17431798).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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